Sgurr nan Gillean
Key information: Sgurr nan Gillean
- This superb landmark pyramid at the northern end of the Black Cuillin ridge is beyond a normal walk, requiring some scrambling and a crossing of a foot-wide knife-edge. A demanding walk but a thriller.
- Staggering views of Black and Red Cuillin.
- Walkopedia rating89
- Natural interest16
- Human interest4
- Negative points4
- Total rating89
- Note: Negs: Frequent bad weather, extreme exposure
- Length: 12-14km
- Maximum Altitude: 964m, 3163ft
- Level of Difficulty: Very Difficult
This superb landmark pyramid marks the northern end of the Black Cuillin ridge. It is beyond a normal walk, its easiest (south-eastern) approach still requiring some scrambling and a crossing of a foot-wide knife-edge – and crossing a lot of difficult ground. The length of this walk depends a bit on your approach route.
With a vast view around the entire extent of the jagged, thrilling Black Cuillin ridge, as well as their Red siblings across the depths of Glen Sligachan, Sgurr nan Gillean has some of Skye’s very finest views.
The south-east ridge is the easiest approach – although everything is relative here.
The normal approach starts across the bridge from Sligachan hotel in a carpark with information boards pertaining to the geology and history of the Cuillins and especially Sgurr Nan Gillean.
The path heads south-ish along a well-used track up above the Allt Deag Beag stream between the two great valleys either side of the Black Cuillins. There are some magnificently clear pools are formed, ideal for a dip of feet or body.
The path becomes a little harder to follow with increased altitude. Sticking south up a gulley until one reaches the gabbro boulder field is a relatively safe bet.
It is advisable to aim southward, away from the peak until up on the south-east ridge. This is a thrilling ascent, every step up the ridge is harder than the last, turning from walk to scramble, to what many would consider a climb: helmets would not go amiss, especially up to the summit of this impressively daunting rock.
It is possible to carry on along the high Cuillin ridge line, to make a descent elsewhere, from Bruach na Frithe for instance, but such an endeavour is truly not for the faint hearted. Walkopedia recommends returning along the same path.
Walkopedia friend Henry shaw says:
We ascended Sgurr nan Gillean in July with serenely perfect conditions for a truly astounding Munro. A challenge indeed, adrenaline-inducing even on a calm day but just awe-inspiring enough that it’s risk is surpassed by the rewards.
Skye has notoriously fickle and often bad weather, and conditions on top can be appalling. It is easy to lose your way in cloud/mist, so not recommended if bad conditions likely. Always come fully prepared. For less experienced walkers, Sgurr Beag, south of the great Gillean is recommended.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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